We’ve all heard tell of the Medusa – a legendary monster with snakes for hair and a piercing gaze that turns even the bravest men to stone. But how did a frightened girl who loved to sail transform into such a fearsome creature? And what did Medusa think when she first looked out from the cliffs of her island exile to see a beautiful boy washing ashore?

Feminist retellings of myths and fairy tales are all the rage for a good reason. Their dehumanised female characters beg to be given voice and agency, and their cruel double standards cry out to be unpicked and recast. This beautifully illustrated tale is undoubtedly up there with the best of these efforts. Burton’s Medusa is a fascinating narrator, a strong, vulnerable, angry, tender and scathingly brilliant teenage girl. The Perseus we meet, viewed through Medusa’s keen eyes, is sweet but ultimately frustrating, and may unfortunately be far too easy for readers to recognise.

The illustrations are a revelation, breath-taking and brimming with a sense of inevitable doom. Bold lines and earthy colours deftly capture both the highs and lows of Perseus and Medusa’s epic tale. This book isn’t for everyone. Those who crave pace and plot, particularly those unfamiliar with Greek mythology, will spend early chapters struggling to find their footing, and the prose – while lovely and lyrical – is dense and occasionally twisting. For the right readers, however, it will be a treasured possession. Particularly recommended for fans of Deirdre Sullivan.

Book Cover - Medusa
Publication Date
October 2021